The task on baking cookies is daunting and extremely frustrating to me. The thought of it makes me flustered. Chilling the dough, forming shapes, then freezing before baking. Flouring surface but not too much, working the dough but not over working, glazing, piping with all those tips and apply pressure while piping but just so. Such finicky little cookies that they are! For years now just before Christmas time when the rest of the world around me prepares for Christmas, one Christmas tradition I was taken with, and romanticized about over my years in the States, is the holiday cookie baking. I never wished for a Christmas tree, though I must confess, every year I brush my hands against the miniature rosemary bush shaped as a pine tree, as I pass by and love the lingering rosemary scent on my palm. If not for fear of killing it over the winter indoors I would have gotten the rosemary bush, but what I really wished for were the holiday cookies.
Last year I made jams and gifted my neighbors and friends with these sweet little treasures of, Meyer lemon and tangerine jams, some chutneys too. Much to my surprise the reactions were positively overwhelming. This year as we are getting ready for our second anniversary, yes we are late bloomers into the tradition, of the 'cliched' Christmas Eve, Chinese food take away and a movie, I thought what better timing to entirely focus and tackle the task and challenge of holiday cookie baking. Much to my surprise I got the cookie mojo this time around. The weighing of ingredients, measuring and managing all the cookie baking tasks in the limited quarters of my kitchen were not easy but with the right attitude, was not a weighing task. Now for the first time I understand, all you cookie bakers out there, the pleasure and joy you are getting from cookie baking. Meanwhile, my first batch of larger size classic cookies with strawberry jam went to my son's friends and their families, as he is back from college dropping by to say hi and visiting hs friends. My second batch was with my own added twist, surprised?! It is me after all! I subbed the 1/4 cup cold water with Meyer lemon juice and added zest of one Meyer lemon. I could have easily used zest of two Meyer lemons. It gave these cookies an added dimension, paired with apricot and strawberry jams they were delicious, but us we loved them all on their own as Meyer lemon snaps!
Although I paired these cookies with strawberry and apricot jams, they would also pair beautifully with this Meyer lemon jam I made last year, you can find the post and recipe here.
Meyer Lemon Butter Cookie Sandwiches with Jam
Costco find: Meyer lemons
7 oz (about 14 tablespoons) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 2/3 cups Confectioner's sugar
1/4 Teaspoon vanilla extract
4 Egg yolks
3 cups minus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 Teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup chilled fresh Meyer lemon juice
Zest of one or two Meyer lemons
Pinch of salt
Strawberry, apricot or Meyer lemon jams
Powders sugar for dusting
Note on measurements: Confectioner's sugar and flour both were shown in cups and grams. My scale had both grams and ounces so I weighed both ingredients in grams on the scale but showing here grams. Flour was 400 grams and confectioner's sugar was 200 grams.
1. Cream butter, confectioner's sugar and vanilla in a mixer with a paddle attachment until a light color is reached to the mixture
2. Add egg yolks one at a time until mixed into butter, sugar and vanilla
3. Add lemon zest and have Meyer lemon juice ready for next step
4. Sift (I skipped sifting) flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl and add in 3-4 steps into mixer while adding a bit of lemon juice each time you add the flour and mix until crumbly moist dough is reached
The entire process (step 1-4) above is fairly quick
5. Take dough out of mixer and form it in a rectangular shape. Cover with plastic wrap and keep refrigerated for at least two hours
At this stage you can work in batches or half the dough or work with entire dough to reach similar consistency to all cookies. I worked in batches for lack of space
6. Flour rolling surface lightly and roll out dough to snaps thin or shortbread cookie thickness. It really depends on you what thickness you desire. My batch yielded more than four dozen medium size cookies (two dozen sandwiches).
7. Form cookies with cookie cutters. With smaller cookie cutter form an opening (I formed the smaller shape in the middle of the cookie) in half of the formed cookies so that the jam will show through when you sandwich them
8. Transfer to parchment lined baking trays and freeze for about twenty minutes
9. Preheat oven to 320F while cookies are in the freezer and bake cookies for 12-17 minutes (ovens vary) until slight golden shows up at edges of cookies. Cookies should not turn golden!
10. Let cookies cool and settle.
At this point you can freeze entire or part of the batch of cookies to serve at a later date. In a freezer safe container lay cookies in one layer flat , put parchment on top and lay another layer of cookies and repeat.
11. If not freezing or after thawing cookies, turn whole cookies upside down and smear with a butter knife your preferred jam in the middle but not all the way to the edges.
12. Dust cookie tops (with hole in the middle) with confectioner's sugar. Assemble the dusted cookie top with the Jam smeared cookie bottom for a beautiful sandwich cookie.
If you wish you can just form extra cookie bottoms and eat them as delicate lemony snaps! They were delicious either way! Happy Holidays!
Photos: I wished to include more but I was anxious to get the post out!! I might add more pics later!